My great friend, Alex Keeling-Thompson, who previously blogged about some amazing bedsheets that she found, wrote another blog for all of you. It is about her son’s experience with getting off dairy, and how much it helped his health. I’m so proud of her story, and find myself telling it all the time. This is a good one for all of you mamas out there. Hope you all had a happy Mother’s Day!! Take a look:
by Alex Keeling-Thompson
“My son Maxime (pictured above) was three when he developed a chronic cough. At first, it came on slowly and only at night, but over time he started coughing during the day. I took him to our pediatrician numerous times and they had no idea what was wrong with him. Finally, they recommended that I take him to a allergist. Great!!!! Anyone, who can help us! At this point, it had already been three months of ‘take this cough medicine’ or ‘lets wait and see if it goes away after cold and flu season’, and Maxime and I were exhausted. I thought the allergist would have all the answers…The first thing on my list was to ask them about the dairy in Maxime’s diet. Maxime’s pediatrician seemed unconcerned about the dairy and dismissed my concerns about it. Dairy was a huge part of his diet: the cheese sticks, cream cheese on bagels, yogurt and cheese crackers… and this was on top of the milk he drank everyday. Walking into the allergist’s office I was confident he would say, “NO more dairy”.
During this time, I was a fashion stylist in Los Angeles and had had wonderful conversations with celebrities, hair and makeup stylists and models about healthy eating and exercise programs. I loved to listen to people’s stories on photo shoots about how to better your life through good nutrition. But no one influenced me more than Alicia when I met her in 2003 before the launch of her new TV show Miss Match. What was interesting about her was when I met her she really didn’t talk about her diet right away. I knew she was a vegan because I had to pull clothing that would honor her vegan lifestyle, but other than that she wouldn’t really talk about it…. Unless, you asked about it…. She was so lovely and would take the time to explain to me why certain foods were bad for you, etc. I will never forget that she gave the crew of Miss Match books about healthier eating, and she also gave them to me for my children.
It was around this time that Maxime had his cough, and my mother-in-law was diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer. Our whole world was rocked, and my husband and I set out on a mission to read about healing through good nutrition. Alicia was there for us and told us about Mina Dobic’s book, My Beautiful Life, and gave us other valuable information at the time. I was on my path to realizing the direct link to health and good nutrition.
This was around the time Maxime was at the allergist office. Finally, someone was going to tell me how to help my son. The doctor examined him and I asked him, “Shouldn’t we stop all dairy?” He said, “Dairy’s not the problem. The dairy is fine.” “Really, Really, then what is it?”, I asked him. Well the doctor didn’t know at first, and told me to try some over the counter children allergy medicine. Another month goes by and we are back at the doctor’s office. This time he suggests Maxime start taking nasal STEROIDS. I said, “Are you sure we shouldn’t try going off the dairy first?” “No, it has nothing to do with it”, he said. Being a good girl from the South who always listened to doctors, I got the prescription filled and was about to administer it when I read the warning label. The first thing the label said is that this drug may stunt growth if taken over a period of time. What? What?! That was the doctor’s answer to my problem? Giving nasal steroid that may stunt my son’s growth… I am 5’4 and my husband is 5’5 on a good day. We don’t have any height to lose in our family. This wasn’t the answer to his health issues!
The next day I had a meeting with the doctor and asked him, “How long do you want Maxime to be on this steroid?” He said for an extended amount of time and that he wasn’t really sure. That’s when I became open to using holistic doctors and combing traditional medicine with a holistic approach. The doctors Maxime had been seeing were some of the top doctors in Los Angeles and I don’t fault them at all, but our family needed a different approach. Every instinct in my body told me not to give Maxime the steroid, and I am so happy that I didn’t.
The next week a friend told me about an amazing doctor in Santa Monica, CA who dealt with allergy patients and took a totally holistic approach. Her name was Dr. Susanne Bennett and during our first office visit she gave me a whole new diet for Maxime. Top of her list was no dairy!!!!! No dairy, no yeast, no nuts etc., just for the first few weeks to find out what the culprit was, and also to get all toxic cleaning supplies out of our house.
At first, it was a challenge to cook differently and buy all new products at the store. I was working full time and I remember the first time shopping spending two hours at whole foods just reading labels. Ahhhh, it was taking forever and it was a whole new way of looking at food. But guess what? In two weeks he was better and in a month he had NO cough. I took all the dairy out of his diet and he was a changed child. He had been puffy in the face with dark circles under his eyes and now he looked great and had no cough.
I strongly urge all parents to first always trust your instincts when it comes to your children’s health. Please before a doctor suggests medicine for a ADHD child or nasal steroid try taking dairy, sugar and processed foods out of the diet first. I can’t tell you how many of my friends have their kids on medicines and I ask, “Have you ever tried taking the dairy and sugar out of the diet?” I’m not judging them but hoping that they will try healing through whole foods before medicine that only masks a problem. I wish and hope for a future where doctors spend more than two weeks in college on health and nutrition and wake up to the correlation of nutrition and health. That’s why it was helpful for me to seek out a holistic alternative. My mother-in-law sought out traditional medical care for her breast cancer and changed her diet. Through those efforts and prayer, she is totally cancer free. Knowledge is really powerful and can help so many people in a health crisis. I thank Alicia for helping our family.”